Day 5: August 5, 2015
Who could pass up a chance to see more wildlife!? After we left Great Sand Dunes, we decided to check out the nearby Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. Alamosa’s claim to fame is the huge influx of Sandhill Cranes that stop over here during the fall and spring migrations. But we didn’t really find much going on in the middle of the afternoon on a hot summer day.
We drove the auto tour, which was pretty quiet. I did spot a White Faced Ibis, which I hadn’t seen before, and a female Red Winged Blackbird. There were lots of ducks, but they didn’t really want to be captured on camera (in focus). I can imagine that it is really quite amazing in the fall.
After Alamosa, we drove up to Salida, Colorado. This was our jumping off point for the next day’s adventure – St. Elmo and Leadville. Salida is a cute little town with lots of history and character. It was founded as a railroad town, and has enjoyed a resurgence as a mecca for mountain bikers, white water rafters, and outdoor enthusiasts.
We got there pretty early, just after 5, and checked our hotel out. Then we went into the historic downtown and had dinner at Amica’s Wood Fired Pizza and Brewery.
I had the Collaboration beer – a blend of their sour beer and peach beer – it was good! Jon liked his Headwaters IPA too. We shared a salad and a personal sized Vesuvio Pizza, with cheese, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and red peppers. Robby and Linda split a pizza too – the personal sized pizza was more than enough to share with an appetizer.
On the way back to our hotel after dinner, we checked out a bit more of the town from the car, and then stopped at the liquor store to get some local beer. Jon got some of the Elevation Double IPA, but sadly, it wasn’t a highlight for him. We did sit outside for a little while enjoying the warm, summer evening, before turning in early for another day!
Total driving distance on Day 5: 161 miles – Alamosa – Great Sand Dunes National Park – Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge – Salida
Hotel for the night: Baymont Inn, Salida – outside landscaping was tired and neglected, the inside of the hotel was nice and clean.